|Manufacturer||Lincoln Motor Company (Ford Motor Company)|
|Production||August 1, 2005–present|
|Assembly||Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||mid-size luxury sedan
entry-level luxury car
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Layout||Front engine, Front-wheel drive / All-wheel drive|
The Lincoln MKZ, initially named the Lincoln Zephyr, is a mid-size entry-level luxury car from the Lincoln Motor Company division of the Ford Motor Company. The MKZ was the first of the "MK"-series of Lincoln luxury vehicles, and has since been followed by the MKX crossover, MKS full-size sedan and MKT full-size crossover.
A hybrid version was launched in the U.S. market in September 2010. The MKZ Hybrid was the first hybrid vehicle in the market priced the same as the standard gasoline-engine version.
Since 2008, the MKZ has been Lincoln's best selling vehicle.
First generation (2006–2012)
|Also called||Lincoln Zephyr (2006)|
|Production||August 1, 2005–2012|
|Body and chassis|
|Platform||Ford CD3 platform|
|Engine||2.5 L Duratec 25 I4
3.0 L Duratec 30 V6
3.5 L Duratec 35 V6
|Transmission||6F automatic (2010-Present)|
|Wheelbase||107.4 in (2,728 mm)|
|Length||2006–09 190.5 in (4,839 mm)
2010–12: 189.8 in (4,821 mm)
|Width||72.2 in (1,834 mm)|
|Height||2006: 57.2 in (1,453 mm)
2007–09: 57.1 in (1,450 mm)
2010–12: 56.9 in (1,445 mm)
2011–12 Hybrid: 56.8 in (1,443 mm)
|Curb weight||2006: 3,438 lb (1,559 kg)
2007–09: 3,469 lb (1,574 kg)
2010–12: 3,598 lb (1,632 kg)
2011–12 Hybrid: 3,756 lb (1,704 kg)
The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr was initially unveiled in concept form at the 2004 New York International Auto Show as a new entry-level luxury sedan intended to appeal to a younger generation of luxury car buyers. Many of the design elements of the Zephyr concept made their way into the production model, albeit with some revision. The front fascia of the Zephyr's exterior was adorned with Lincoln's signature waterfall grille and jeweled quad projector beam headlights (HID headlights were available). Chrome trim extends along the Zephyr's beltline while the car's rear fascia features wing-shaped LED taillights and dual chrome exhaust tips. All Zephyrs featured low-profile tires on 17x7.5-inch wheels with painted aluminum versions standard and chrome versions optional.
Lincoln officially revived the Zephyr name in the fall of 2005 as a platform-mate for the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan; the vehicles were based on the CD3 platform, which was derived from the Mazda 6. The Zephyr's sole powertrain was a 3.0 L DOHC Duratec V6 mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission; identical to the V6 powertrain that was optional in the Fusion and Milan. Visually, the Zephyr could be easily distinguished from its Ford and Mercury siblings thanks to unique fascias and other stylistic elements, but as much as 35% of its body panels were shared with the other cars. However, the interior is entirely unique to the Lincoln, and this, along with different equipment packaging, helped differentiate the brands. Reflecting its entry-level luxury position, the 2006 Zephyr started at a base MSRP of $29,995 USD, ranging up to $35,575 USD when fully optioned.
Though slightly smaller and natively front-wheel drive, the Zephyr was marketed as a replacement for Lincoln's previous entry level mid-size, the rear-wheel drive, V8-equipped Lincoln LS. To facilitate a smooth transition, the Zephyr and LS were sold parallel to each other during the 2006 model year, the first model year of the Zephyr and the last for the LS. Ironically the Zephyr's first model year was also its last for the nameplate. For 2007 the car was renamed MKZ, and took over the LS' market with sales beginning in September 2006. Lincoln's decision to resurrect the Zephyr name refers to the very early days of Lincoln before World War II. At that time, the only Lincoln manufactured was the Lincoln K-series which was a full-size sedan, and Lincoln, under the direction of Edsel Ford, Henry Ford's only son, hoped to introduce a smaller product to compete with the LaSalle, a smaller sibling offered at Cadillac dealerships.
Inside the Zephyr was an interior design that was thoroughly distinctive relative to the Fusion or Milan, almost shadowing the 2005 to 2009 Ford Mustang. The upscale design featured rectangular shapes in the dashboard surfaces and door panels with real ebony or maple wood inserts (depending on desired trim) in metallic frames. These surfaces were contrasted with chrome-bezeled gauges, circular, chrome-finished vents and a metallic center stack where the radio and climate controls are housed. The Zephyr's steering wheel was leather-wrapped with real wood grips and satin-nickel audio, climate, and cruise control buttons. White LED backlighting was used for the Zephyr's controls and instrumentation. Leather seating surfaces were standard in all models.
In terms of luxury and convenience features there was little that distinguished the Zephyr from the Fusion or Milan. Most of the features that were optional in the Fusion or Milan were simply standard in the Zephyr. Some of these standard features in the Zephyr include: cruise control, automatic headlights, fog lights, power door locks, "global" power windows (all windows can lower simultaneously at the push of a button), power adjustable and heated mirrors with puddle lamps, remote keyless entry, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with redundant audio and climate controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, a universal garage door opener, 10-way power driver and front passenger seats, rear-seat reading lamps, and a six-speaker audio system with an AM/FM stereo radio and a six-disc, MP3-compatible CD changer. Optional in the Zephyr was a power moonroof, a DVD-based satellite navigation system, HID headlights, heated and cooled front seats, and an industry-first THX II-Certified audio system with a six-disc, MP3-compatible CD changer and ten speakers. Safety features include standard dual front-side airbags, front seat-deployed side airbags, and curtain airbags that extend from the front to rear seats.
Mechanically the Zephyr was closely related to the Fusion and Milan. As mentioned, all three cars were based on Ford's CD3 platform, which was in turn derived from the Mazda 6. Like these cars the Zephyr is natively front-wheel drive (FWD). The Zephyr uses a coil-over damper, short- and long-arm (SLA) front suspension with double-ball-joint control arms while the rear suspension is an independent multi-link design with lower control arms and a 17 mm (0.7 in) stabilizer bar. Spring rates, bushings, and dampers have been specially tuned for the Zephyr to provide excellent ride comfort without compromising handling. All Zephyrs feature standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with traction control. The sole engine offered in the Zephyr was an all-aluminum 3.0 L DOHC Duratec V6 producing 221 hp (165 kW) at 6250 rpm and 205 lb·ft (278 N·m) of torque at 4800 rpm. This engine was mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission and had a final drive ratio of 3.46:1. This powertrain was identical to the V6 powertrain available in the Fusion and Milan from 2006-2009. With this powertrain the Zephyr could accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.5 seconds. The FWD Zephyr came with a 16.5 US gal (62 L; 14 imp gal) fuel tank and is rated to deliver 17 mpg-US (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp) in city driving and 26 mpg-US (9.0 L/100 km; 31 mpg-imp) on the highway based on the revised 2008 EPA fuel efficiency measurement standards.
For 2007, just one year after its introduction, due to its poor reception in the marketplace, (see first year sales figures below), the Zephyr was refreshed and renamed to follow a new nomenclature developed by Lincoln that mimics the alphanumeric naming schemes used by other luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz, the Zephyr was renamed MKZ. Management at Lincoln originally announced the MKZ with a "Mark-Zee" pronunciation during the 2006 auto show circuit, but eventually changed it to the phonetic "em-kay-zee" due to confusion observed among focus groups and dealership personnel.
The 2007 MKZ was first shown at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006. Other than its new name, the MKZ gained a number of substantial changes over its predecessor. Stylistically, the MKZ's grille was revised, with the "waterfall" becoming longer. The lower front fascia below the grille was also redesigned. The standard and optional versions of the MKZ's 17x7.5-inch wheels were restyled. An intelligent all-wheel drive system was now available, seamlessly distributing power to each wheel for optimum traction. Powering the MKZ, and taking a large step toward further differentiating the car from the Fusion and Milan, was Ford's new, all-aluminum 3.5 L DOHC Duratec V6. The engine was tuned to produce 265 hp (196 kW) at 6250 rpm and 249 lb·ft (337 N·m) of torque at 4500 rpm. Significantly, the new engine needed only 87-octane regular grade gasoline to achieve its output. Also, in spite of the MKZ's power advantage over the 3.0 L DOHC V6-equipped Zephyr, the fuel economy of the MKZ rivals that of the Zephyr at 17 mpg-US (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp) in city driving and 25 mpg-US (9.4 L/100 km; 30 mpg-imp) on the highway in front-wheel drive models. A road test by Motor Trend found that an MKZ equipped with all-wheel drive could accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.8 seconds and complete a quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 93.4 mph (150.3 km/h) thanks to the more powerful engine and extra traction. One of the few other changes that was applied to the 2007 MKZ was a revision to the available THX II-Certified audio system to increase its speaker amount to 14 and its peak output to 600 Watts. Beyond the MKZ's changes, the car remained positioned as an entry-level luxury sedan with base models still starting at just under $30,000 USD and fully optioned models remaining well below $40,000 USD.
For 2008 the MKZ received new standard features as a part of Lincoln's continued effort to refine the car. Sirius satellite radio, perforated leather seats, a reverse sensing system, a tire pressure monitoring system, and Lincoln SYNC (late availability) were all newly standard. For 2009, Ford's AdvanceTrac stability control system became standard while a special edition "Midnight Black" package was available, featuring black leather seating surfaces and panels contrasted with maple wood and satin nickel inserts.
The 2010 MKZ was unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles International Auto Show, revealing an extensive update with a revised interior and exterior in addition to new features. The MKZ's exterior was updated with an emphasis on the front and rear fascias. In the front, the MKZ's headlights are new while its fascia and split-wing grille closely resembles that of the Lincoln MKR concept, a new approach towards giving all Lincolns a shared appearance inspired by Lincolns during the late 1930s, as demonstrated by the 1936 Lincoln-Zephyr. In the rear, the taillights have been revised to be longer and thinner, similar to the original Zephyr concept. The MKZ's standard and optional 17-inch wheels have been restyled again and are supplemented with a new 18-inch wheel option. Inside, the MKZ's interior is all-new stylistically but continues to extensively use real wood accents and metal surfaces. Higher quality Bridge of Weir leather seating surfaces are standard. Other features new for 2010 include a reverse camera system, Sirius Travel Link, a DVD-based satellite navigation system updated to accept voice commands, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a cabin air filter, and adaptive HID headlights. Mechanically, the MKZ features new suspension tuning to further improve ride quality and handling and a new SelectShift 6-speed automatic transmission that improves acceleration. The 2010 MKZ was released during the Spring of 2009.
MKZ Hybrid (2011)
The 2011 MKZ Hybrid was unveiled at the 2010 New York International Auto Show and sales began in September 2010. It is the first Lincoln hybrid electric vehicle and the first Lincoln model with a 4-cylinder engine and delivers an EPA city rating of 41 mpg-US (5.7 L/100 km; 49 mpg-imp) and a highway rating of 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg-imp), which made it the most fuel efficient luxury sedan in the U.S. until the release of the 2011 Lexus CT 200h in March 2011. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid carries over the hybrid powertrain from the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids, including the 2.5 L Duratec I4 with electric motor producing a total of 191 hp (142 kW). The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has an E.V. mode that allows the car to travel short distances on electricity alone, at speeds up to 47 mph (76 km/h). The MKZ Hybrid offers an improvement of Ford's Smart Gauge with EcoGuide, first introduced in the 2010 Fusion Hybrid.The MKZ Smart Gauge version offers a new "Flower" design compared to the "Leaf" design of the Fusion. In essence, the car rewards you with flower blossoms for economic driving/driving habits.
The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is marketed by Ford as a competitor to the Lexus HS 250h and Lexus ES Hybrid. As of July 2011 the MKZ Hybrid is the only hybrid in the market with the same price as its conventional gasoline-engine version of the car. Ford reported that until June 2011, about 20% of 2011 MKZ sales have been hybrids, and the market share is even higher in markets where hybrids in general sell well, such as the Los Angeles region, where sales of the hybrid model represent 44%, and the San Francisco area, with a market share of 66%. The MKZ Hybrid base price is US$35,520, and with popular options including a sunroof, navigation system, blind spot monitors, a THX surround-sound stereo and a backup camera the price rises to US$41,370.
A complete redesign of the Ford Fusion line-up is scheduled for the 2013 model year. Both the Lincoln MKZ and the Fusion Hybrid are expected to use a new compact lithium-ion battery pack and an updated powertrain that is expected to deliver a higher fuel economy of up to 47 to 48 mpgUS (4.9 to 5.0 L/100 km; 56 to 58 mpgimp) highway. The next generation Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is expected to be launched by mid-2012. The 2013 MKZ concept car was unveiled at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.
The MKZ Hybrid was one of the five finalists for the 2011 Green Car of the Year awarded by the Green Car Journal in November 2010, which was won by the Chevrolet Volt. In its 2011 Hybrid Scorecard, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) ranked the MKZ Hybrid, together with the Lexus CT200h, as the top luxury hybrid models in the scorecard’s environmental improvement category, an achievement the UCS attributed to their relatively small gasoline engines. Nevertheless, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid ranked higher than the Lexus on all factors: consumer value, hybrid technology, fuel efficiency and pollution reduction. Also, the UCS praised the MKZ Hybrid, together with the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, because both hybrids are available with few or no forced features that inflate the cost without adding to fuel savings or reducing emissions. The UCS's Hybrid Scorecard ratings for the MKZ Hybrid are higher than the non-luxury Toyota Prius for environmental performance, and hybrid vale; both are rated the same for forced features; and the Prius scores higher in fuel economy.
Second generation (2013–)
|Body and chassis|
|Platform||Ford CD4 platform|
|Engine||2.0L EcoBoost I4 (FWD)
3.7L Duratec 37 V6 (AWD)
2.0L Hybrid I4
|Wheelbase||112.1 in (2,847 mm)|
|Length||194.1 in (4,930 mm)|
|Width||73.4 in (1,864 mm)|
|Height||58.2 in (1,478 mm)|
Ford redesigned the Lincoln MKZ for the 2013 model year. It shares the company's CD4 platform with Fusion and Mondeo. The concept model was presented at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.
The production version of the second generation MKZ was unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show. It follows the general concept idea released in the model displayed at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Ford offers the 2013 MKZ with three powertrains: a 240-horsepower EcoBoost 2-liter 4-cylinder (FWD or AWD), a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 (FWD or AWD), and a hybrid system based on the 2-liter power plant. The hybrid, like the previous generation MKZ Hybrid, is available for the same price as the non-hybrid model.
Given the model's significant redesign for 2013, changes to the 2014 MKZ are primarily limited to color choices.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rated the 2013 MKZ Hybrid at 45 mpg-US (5.2 L/100 km; 54 mpg-imp) with the same rating for combined/city/highway cycles. The 2013 model year 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder FWD automatic MKZ rating is 26 mpg-US (9.0 L/100 km; 31 mpg-imp) combined, 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg-imp) in the city, and 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km; 40 mpg-imp) on the highway.
These ratings allowed the 2013 MKZ Hybrid to become the most fuel efficient luxury vehicle in the U.S. and improve the fuel economy of the Lexus ES 300h hybrid by 5 mpg-US on the combined cycle. Despite sharing the same powertrain, the 2013 MKZ Hybrid rated 2 mpg-US combined less than its sibling the second generation Ford Fusion Hybrid at 47 mpg-US (5.0 L/100 km; 56 mpg-imp).
Originally, the MKZ was set to be released in November 2012, but this was set back to January after Fusion production was delayed, which is produced at the same plant. Its release date was again pushed back after Ford looked to iron out any possible quality issues. Some MKZs were even shipped to Ford's Flat Rock plant to be reassured that they were ready to be sent to dealerships. This was an unprecedented move for such a big product launch, but Ford felt it would be profitable in the long run. Cars finally started to reach dealerships in sufficient quantities by mid-March 2013.
The redesigned 2013 model year Lincoln MKZ hybrid experienced strong sales during 2013. In July 2013, Ford announced that for the 2014 model year MKZ hybrid it will increased the share of production allocated to the hybrid version, from 20% for the 2013 model year to 40% of the 2014 model year. The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is popular among consumers in part because it has the same base price as the non-hybrid MKZ.
|Wikinews has related news: Ford's US auto sales spike, surpassing GM|
|U.S. sales (2005 - 2013)|
(gas & hybrid)
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- Jerry Garrett (2011-07-22). "Upwardly Mobile Hybrids: Splurging While Saving Gas". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
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